Saturday, February 21, 2004


I think I am beginning to understand this not sleeping thing. Firstly, we go to bed way too early. There is simply no other way to say this. We generally go to bed at the same time as the kid, which would be like 9:30 or so. Sometimes we make it all the way to ten, but that would be stretching it. So, because the morning alarm clock is set for 6:20 (jogging and morning gymnastics, breakfast at 7:00, a quick game of chess and the kid is off to school by 7:45) that means that I am forced by the system to get nearly nine hours of sleep.

Do you understand what I am telling you? The system dictates that I must get more then eight hours of sleep. Now maybe this is good for the kid and Tanya, they are fools for the activity of sleep. But for me it is torture because my body simply doesn’t want it. Oh, I stay up and watch the tube sometimes, and sometimes I end down on the floor under the desk lamb trying to learn the language.

But I only need perhaps six hours at most. I could even live with five. But the schedule dictates not only when things are possible and when they are not, it also dictates what there is to do; and this, I simply don’t like. It’s not just the sleep, you see; I like to get up in the morning and do something. Now, in New York, this was not a problem. I was alone, and that I normally woke up early didn’t disturb anybody else. If it was anywhere near five or six in the morning I could just get dressed and go to the diner for some potatoes, toast and coffee. Now that was a morning routine. If I was really early, all it meant was that I could read the sports page of the daily news AND do a crossword puzzle while having a second cup of coffee. Not bad… not bad.

But everything about that equation is wrong here in Belarus. Wrong, wrong, wrong. First of all, there is no diner. No such thing. Goes against the grain. I think they need one. Would be a good business here. But they don’t you see, because they would need to agree to spend a buck or two to sit there and they simply don’t have it. I paid less than a fiver for my time at the corner diner, including tip, but that would seriously be like two days food for the whole family here, so it simply doesn’t happen.

So what am I supposed to do?

Anyway, that’s what happened this morning. The clock said it was 4:30 sharp and I simply swung my feet to the left and said to myself that it was time to get up. I hit the desk and worked out the translation of one of the Russian football magazines I got for the kid. I still read too slow. But I do so much of this that sometimes my head rejects the work. Oh, I can feel the progress, but the breakthroughs do not come fast enough for me. After a while I switched to this kinda cool children’s book that the kid has to read for school. It is all in verse so there was a cool music to the reading but because it was in verse, I had a bitch of a time understanding what it was about. Something about three brothers having to stand out in a field to try to find the thief who stole the grain. Pushkin is better. He wrote a lot of really cool stories for children. Now there is a writer… Pushkin.

Anyway, after a while I started to work out the notes for this blog and I realized that I have also grown really sick of doing the sorts of things I have been doing. I mean I like the process and all, and the activity- I mean I do write, right? But I am finding that all of these words about what an amazing asshole Poland was to me is starting to get a little boring to tell you the truth. I mean, I used to like to write plays. That was a fun exercise for me. You take some idea that seems kinda useful or universal and you play out a scenario that has some truth to it while at the same time trying to bring the whole thing in at a reasonable word count because you gotta remember that you are writing for an audience and that there is only so much time you can ask people to sit there and listen to you. I liked doing that. But now all I ever do is go on about the endless and mindless corrupt perversity of the Polish court system or about how pissed off I am and you gotta know that I am getting really sick of it.

So, I am simply going to have to take a new direction and do some new things. I simply have to.

So, I am going to shift gears here a little. Over the next while I am going to try and describe for you a little bit about what the life here in Belarus is like right now. And this is something I really want to do because I don’t know how much time I have left here. This of course is also probably one of the main reasons for the lack of sleep. Yea… No, I have a place here, and I do think I want to continue very much, but… Well, it is just so ridiculous to have to say this, over and over and over and over…

1. I came here because I wanted to be here for a while.
2. I had been here before, felt a connection to the place and felt I might be able to do something to help.
3. I met a woman I liked,
4. Decided that if there was to be a romance, I would have to be able to do something here to both fill my time well and to provide for and support the relationship.
5. I decided to try and make a bike shop here, which is my chosen vocation,
6. Went to Poland for a week for a new visa and to work out a loan for some money to get started
7. And… got… robbed- of everything I ever had in the world: My money, my name, any credit I might have had. And this at the hands not of the bad guys, but by the good guys; knowingly and intentionally.

And it was not just a bad fleeting moment, it’s been going on for two years! Two years of being made to watch all of the people whom I had at one time made happy by simply agreeing that they were worth the effort, that I wanted to be here and that there would be a little business, sit there and just simply die…

I don’t ever remember experiencing a more cruel torture in all of my life. And: I-T I-S S-T-I-L-L G-O-I-N-G O-N A-L-M-O-S-T T-W-O F-U-L-L Y-E-A-R-S L-A-T-E-R.

And the people, not person: people- who are torturing me (this is exactly the sort of stuff I am sick of writing) seem to enjoy doling out this abuse. Can you understand this? They are enjoying distributing unnecessary pain, wallowing happily like the fat, greasy degenerate pigs they are in the murky liquid shit of their own corruptness.

Or some such imagery as that.

So anyway, I guess what I am saying is that it is time to try and change gears. I am going to try and do some writing about the place I have been living in. To be honest, this is what I have been wanting to do all along but couldn’t because making to “Polish Point” seemed so urgent. And I had hoped for a better or at least different format…

It all seems like such a waste.

So there you are. New stuff coming. And…Ah… crap.! I would like to try and be above such gutter living but I just can’t help it: I have to take one parting shot…

Listen: You know the Pope is from Poland, right? Very, very, very Catholic country. And you do know that the Catholics absolutely believe there is a hell and that it is the most horrible, horrible place of torture and pain the most diseased and dour mind could ever imagine?

Do you understand what I am saying?


From me to you- and you know who you are:

Just Go.

New stuff tomorrow.